Hendrik de Man and Social Democracy: The Idea of Planning in Western Europe, 1914-1940

Tommaso Milani's picture
April 8, 2021
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Intellectual History, Political History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Economic History / Studies

Faith in planning has often been considered 'the political religion of post-war Europe', in Tony Judt’s iconic phrase. Nevertheless, how such a supple and elusive term as planning entered mainstream public discourse remains an under-researched topic. This study discusses how the Belgian socialist intellectual and politician Hendrik de Man (1885-1953) devised and championed a specific model of planning during the 1930s, not only to curb mass unemployment during the Great Depression but also as part of a much more ambitious endeavour to redefine the goals, values and practices of democratic socialism. By examining de Man’s ideas, involvement in party politics, tenure as Minister and impact over several parties and trade unions across Western Europe, the study sheds new light on the difficulties the non-communist Left had in embracing the mixed economy, foreshadowing many of the practical as well as theoretical challenges Western European social democracy faced after 1945.

The seminar will be held exclusively on Zoom and is open to the public (pre-registration is required - see URL).

Contact Info: 

Tommaso Milani (EUI)

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